Ter Horst: It’s all in the way you say it
It must have been a splendid moment. One beard was scratching himself (maybe he had this clear image in his head of a saber tooth tiger for lunch or he was fantasizing about intercourse with his sister) when his hairy neighbor pointed his finger toward a pile of rocks and snarled: “MHAAAAMOOO!”
Beard hesitated for a second.
“MHAAAAMMOOOOH?” he tried to reproduce this interesting sound.
The other cavemen wildly jumped up and down, pointing toward the pile of rocks near them, and together they growled: “MAAAAMMOOOTH!”
Beard quickly stood up, as he suddenly understood, and the group of hunters started to run. That night they proudly brought home their feast of mammoth meat and juice from a branch of old grapes they had found on their way back, and “under the weather” they celebrated this exciting era of new discoveries with their females. That day communication was invented, and it’s performing its purpose to clarify…so well, ever since.
“How are you? I am good.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I never called you a jerk, but if I did, I meant it in the most positive way.” (Doesn’t honesty make life so much easier?)
Imagine, without communication, you probably would have wondered all day if your boyfriend thought that girl he met at the party yesterday was attractive. How boring would that party have been anyway, without our standard list of topics that do well when meeting strangers? I don’t think you would have impressed that blonde girl much, if you hadn’t brought up the ultra-interesting question of what makes humans so different from other species.
But maybe most important of all, words enable us to explain ourselves. I can’t imagine the humiliation a dog must experience, when he accidently farts. That poor poodle won’t able to express himself with a clarifying: “Woops! Heehee, excuse me!”
I am grateful that communication has always been there for me. Thank God no taboos started to exist during time, so that I can openly write about incest, just like I did earlier, and I am jazzed that sayings never get old.
Thank you for your attention, and I am not just saying that, I am meaning it, as well.
Doris ter Horst
Columnist Doris ter Horst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org